It is starting to seem like we won't have a real winter here this year. Sure, sure, there are always variations in weather, but with the release of the USDA zone map the other day that moved the zones ever higher, I can't help but worry about this. On the other hand, my grandmother's favorite refrain of "Eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we all shall die" is well instilled in my heart. Hearing that often enough as a nipperkin will do that to you - once you figure out it isn't meant literally.
So the windows have been open for the past few days, I've been sitting on the deck wiggling my toes in the breeze, and yesterday my sister and I went down into the woods to see what is going on out there. Generally speaking, I was relieved to see that there isn't too much sprouting or budding there. The fish in the pond were happy to gather together near the surface and color the water gold and orange with the shimmery hides.
The sycamore tree still has some seed balls on the branches, and always looks so majestic against the sky.
Wandering along, we found a sprig of dried wild grapes that somehow escaped the birds, deer, foxes, racoons, and possums in the woods.
There are still a lot of whole nuts on the ground, and the shells left behind are from hickory on the one end of the woods,
and mostly black walnut on the other end.
A hyacinth is starting to venture through the soil next to some chickweed.
Moss is prolific and grows over this fallen tree, turning it a beautiful green. There is so much habitat on the forest floor from downed timber.
I need to ID this leathery little fern-like plant. Every year I see it in this bronze stage, and wonder what it is.
There are bindweed and morning glory vines still hanging onto seedpods everywhere.
One lone perennial poppy is oblivious to the time of the year.
The trilliums, ramps, and even the skunk cabbage are still sleeping soundly, much to my surprise. We can't have too many more days like this without seeing some serious budding on the trees and shrubs, but if it happens this early, they *might* have time to go back to sleep and start the cycle over. A couple of years ago we had no frost after the end of March. That gives us 2 months to have a winter. The suspense is killing me.